U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) still has slots available in fiscal year 2013 for foreign workers in specialty occupations under the H-1B program, but petitions have been filed at a very brisk rate so far, and slots might not remain open for very long.
Thus, employers who seek an employment start date on or after October 1, 2012 (the start of the 2013 fiscal year) for foreign workers in specialty occupations should file visa petitions on behalf of those workers soon. By rule, the specialty occupations include, but are not limited to: scientists, engineers and computer programmers.
Petitions should be filed as soon as possible in order to avoid being shut down by the annual cap limitation for the H-1B program (cap amount of 65,000 for FY 2012). Some petitions will be exempt from the cap if they are made on behalf of certain individuals who have obtained an advancedU.S.degree, but USCIS grants the exemption only to the first 20,000 applications.
The current H-1B petition counts are as follows through April 20, 2012:
- H-1B Regular Cap: 25,000 cap-eligible petitions
- H-1B Advanced Degree Exemption: 10,900 petitions
This pace beats even the largest projections for the opening month and represents the fastest pace in years for H-1B petition filings.
Up to 6,800 visas may also be set aside for workers from Chile and Singapore, pursuant to the H-1B1 program arising out of the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements.
H-1B petitions, in order to be properly filed, must be complete and accurate. Necessary documents include, but are not limited to the following:
- A Form I-129 petition with appropriate supplements;
- Labor condition applications on Form ETA 9035;
- Required evidence of a beneficiarys educational background;
- Duplicate copies of certain documents; and
- Consulate-specific forms required by the Department of State where appropriate.
If you are in need of more information about business immigration, please check the pertinent section of our immigration law Website or call our offices for an appointment at (847) 564-0712.